1967 – 1994
Scorpio Neptune, Cancer Jupiter, Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron
Imagination can be the source of our pleasure, perhaps is our most important human gift, and yet it can also be our downfall when we choose to hide from the challenges life is presenting us for growth and greater strength by sealing ourselves off in an isolated fantasy of safety. Grand Water Trines like we have been experiencing are often described as beautiful opportunities to experience ecstasy, but unless we are in a position to do little else than drift off in relaxation, we will have a hard time adequately responding to the harsher life events appearing in our life if we do not have a handle on managing our feelings. This has been particularly the case this Summer, since there has also been a square aspect occurring between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, and our intense experiences that have correlated with this could have transformed that same blissful hope of the Grand Water Trine into a feeling of drowning in a flood of unconscious emotional turbulence. In a sense we are learning to swim in a new way for a new time, and as the current Grand Water Trine between Cancer Jupiter, Scorpio Saturn, and Pisces Neptune eventually shifts into another Grand Trine between Pisces Chiron, Scorpio Saturn, and Cancer Jupiter, our current experiences will hopefully help us develop a more effective ability to manifest what we truly want to have happen in our lives. Since we are experiencing a Saturn in Scorpio during this time, any crises or intense emotional connections we are experiencing are forcing a realization within us of vitally important aspects of our feelings to not only recognize, but also to investigate and attempt to purify or transform.
When examining birth charts with Grand Water Trines, the general rule is that it takes some stressful aspects like we have been experiencing collectively with Pluto and Uranus, in order to activate an effective use of the trine’s potential by the individual. A powerful example of a person with these aspects in his birth chart is Kurt Cobain, who was born with a Grand Water Trine between Scorpio Neptune, Cancer Jupiter, and Saturn, Chiron, and Venus conjunct in Pisces, activated by a conjunction between Pluto and Uranus in Virgo in opposition to his Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron. In Kurt’s biography, we can see the isolated imaginative aspects of this astrology in his devotion to spending hours everyday building intricate sculptures out of clay and thrift store purchases that would amaze the people he had let into his life, only to destroy them upon completion. As far as cleaning his house or organizing aspects of his living environment, Kurt was always described as being a lazy dweller in clutter, yet at the same time we can also see how his Grand Water Trine was effectively activated by Pluto and Uranus in his obsessive desire to practice music with his band every single day, and in his ability to infuse extraordinary Soul power into his musical expression.
To be honest dear reader, I’ve been looking for an astrological excuse to write about Kurt Cobain for quite some time. However, now that the Grand Water Trine between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune has been activated by Jupiter in Cancer coming into an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, I genuinely think that Kurt can be a helpful point of focus in working with these energies. This is especially the case recently since the dark moon phase this past weekend had a Cancer Moon combined with Jupiter in forming the trine with Neptune and Saturn, as well as the opposition and square with Pluto and Uranus. Kurt Cobain was born with a water trine of a different sort, with a Scorpio Neptune and a Pisces Saturn, but he did have currently relevant natal placements of Jupiter in Cancer, the Moon in Cancer, and Chiron in Pisces. His life trajectory reveals the positive power available with the grand water trine to manifest inner visions into reality that can help dissolve the very structures of that consensus reality, as well as the negative potential that can come from an unintegrated and unprocessed shadow side of the water element. It is sad to think that he would be experiencing a nodal opposition at this time (this happens when the transiting South Node of the Moon conjuncts your birth chart’s North Node of the Moon, and the transiting North Node conjuncts your South Node) if he were alive, since he is no longer with us. However, with the mark he left behind he will always be with us, similar in a generational way to the figure of John Lennon who also left a body before becoming an elder. His birth at the time of the Pluto-Uranus conjunction (the same time John Lennon released “Strawberry Fields Forever” as a Beatle) helps to seal his fate in this manner, as research by Richard Tarnas has shown that many key figures born at conjunctions and oppositions of Pluto and Uranus come into later prominence during astrologically resonant eras. For example, Kurt became famous during the conjunction between Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn in the early 1990s with Pluto in Scorpio, and he has remained popular with the generation that was born at that time.
I am writing this post from my parent’s home near Atlanta, Georgia which is fitting because it is the same house I lived in when attending high school and discovered the work and life of Kurt Cobain. Hearing Kurt Cobain’s music was an aesthetic epiphany for me, but not really any different on a pure musical level than the first time I heard the Pixies, Sonic Youth, and Dinosaur, Jr (the Lou Barlow You’re Living All Over Me version). What set Kurt Cobain apart from the rest for me was the quality of his voice, and especially reading his interviews. Listening to the voice of Kurt Cobain at the time felt like coming into contact with someone from the same planet or star system, a voice that gave a calming effect to my imposed sense of alienation that I was not alone in my perspective. Kurt had this effect on many people, on a deeper level especially with others who also had a feeling of not fitting in, or were incredibly socially withdrawn like I was in high school. But even with people who were considered “popular and normal” in one way or another in their social sphere, the primal scream of Kurt Cobain represented a feeling of outrage against societal abuse that seemed to unify an entire generation in appreciation. Although he had his own personal issues with the fame he achieved, this same level of fame he achieved gave him a platform that reached youth across all channels of the United States, into places that were previously unaware that underground musical figures even existed.
Nirvana became famous at a time of mainstream radio in which it appeared that rock may have been dead. There were countless incredible bands playing a form of “rock” in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but most of this music was considered “underground” and did not get major radio play. There was something shattering and paradigm shifting about the appearance of Nirvana in the mainstream, and Kurt decided to bring as many punk, underground, and independent musicians with him into prominence as possible, constantly naming and referencing bands for youth to search for in interviews. Astrologically, it was a perfect ascendancy for the time period of the Uranus and Neptune conjunction in Capricorn that occurred at the end of the 1980s and continued through the early 1990s, with Pluto in the sign of Scorpio. As Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth said at the time, “When a band like Nirvana comes out of the underground, it really expresses something that’s going on in the culture and not a commodity” (Azerrad, p. 3).
Kurt’s life revealed the difficulty that can correlate between a Grand Water Trine and the navigation of powerful unconscious forces, as he eventually became a heroin addict who committed suicide. At the time of his passing, his own Grand Water trine was being activated by transiting Pluto and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio conjunct his natal Scorpio Neptune, the transiting Pisces Mercury and Mars conjunct his natal Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron, and his progressed Sun and Chiron conjunct in Pisces and also conjunct his natal Pisces Saturn and Venus. Yet, his life also reveals the extraordinary imaginative power of a Grand Water Trine to dissolve what was formerly considered possible by society: seriously, would anyone have believed in 1990, a time in which there was no dynamic rock music occurring in mainstream culture, that within a couple of years a high school dropout who had experienced homelessness and played Kurt’s style of music, would change the face of popular music completely? Do we even tend to listen to homeless heroin addicts who have not graduated high school today? Kurt Cobain revealed the brilliant mind and creative genius that one can find amongst the outcast of our society, and the tragedy of his life also shows how this same brilliance like a strike of lightning or the burning of quicksilver can be too much for an individual to handle when they become addicted to a destructive substance like heroin, instead of developing a more purifying release of energy. Sadly, the potential radiance of a grand water trine can instead lead people into an isolated existence of withdrawal from the world in which they are overwhelmed or confused by the unconscious side of their emotional nature. Most people flooded by feelings that feel out of control lack the skills, understanding, or even interest to process and integrate unconscious shadow material into a more whole presence of Self, and so they become at risk of entering a self-imposed exile that eventually leads to sickness of one form or another. And yet, Kurt also proved the potential visionary power of the grand water trine, that by having a dream and pursuing it with relentless passion, we can create a form for it in the reality of our personal lives, against all odds of what society tells us is possible.
Looking at Kurt’s chart, and the significance of his Pisces Saturn in his seventh house (it is conjunct a Pisces Venus, Chiron, Mercury, and Descendant, as well as an Aries Black Moon Lilith, in trine to a Cancer Jupiter and Scorpio Neptune, and in opposition to a Pluto-Uranus conjunction in Virgo) drew me to exploring the old Liz Greene classic, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil. Also relevant to the transit at this time of Saturn in Scorpio, in this book Liz connected Saturn in water signs and houses to the esoteric perspective of the mind, imagination, and emotions being the source of events and experiences, and the challenges Saturn in water signs can bring to the individual through the forms of blocks to this psychic energy:
No event or mundane circumstance can occur without having first been set in motion by an idea, charged with emotion, and then manifested as an action. Beyond these three stages of an experience lies the meaning of the experience in relation to the whole, which it is the function of the intuition to perceive. The world of feeling lies directly behind the world of events, and it is this world with which the watery signs and houses are concerned . . . [Humans are] largely unaware of the potency of this feeling nature, particularly at the present juncture where emphasis is placed on external behavior rather than on the quality of desire. As long as something is not “done,” the individual will convince himself that he has no desire to do it; consequently, the power of the feelings increases because they are forced underground, into the realm of the unconscious. From this subterranean position the feelings will force a man to action or attract certain kinds of illnesses or behavioural patterns which he does not understand, and which may hurt him, and which appear to be coming from somewhere else. Psychic energy, like physical energy, cannot be destroyed; in fact they are the same, both kinds of energy, and will merely follow a different channel of expression if the usual one is blocked. Blockage on the level of the feeling nature is symbolised by Saturn in a watery sign or house, and true to form the psychic energy which would ordinarily seek release through expression of feeling must take another channel of expression- frequently through the body or through certain kinds of events.
— Liz Greene, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, (p. 16-17)
This access to deep reservoirs of psychic power that can be released into magical and artistic forms, or when blocked manifest as deep wounds in the body, reminds me of Frida Kahlo (who had a Pisces Saturn at 28 degrees conjunct Kurt’s Pisces Saturn; a Sun-Neptune conjunction at 13 degrees Cancer conjunct Kurt’s Moon; and a Cancer Jupiter at 21 degrees conjunct Kurt’s Cancer Jupiter), a painter who created art and lived from a place of constant, tortured pain in her body. Kurt also lived and created art from an intense feeling of pain in his stomach that baffled the medical professionals he sought help from, apparently located according to him in the same region of his body he generated his singing voice from. The bodily pain that Kurt and Frida both experienced reminds me on an archetypal level of the poisoned phase in the mythic life of Chiron (a very significant astrological archetype in Kurt’s chart), and both Frida and Kurt created art on a deep Chirotic level of release through exploring and expressing the darkest recesses of the psyche. Like Frida, Kurt was able to transmute this pain into an artistic expression that touched the soul of many on this planet- a transcendent and immanent power that emanated from his voice and physical presence on stage.
The song “Even In His Youth” is a good example of the simple and repetitive lyrics Kurt would sometimes write, that still managed to carry a deep message to many youth because of his compelling expression of their emotion: “Even in his youth / Even in his youth / Even in his youth / He was nothing / Kept his body clean / Kept his body clean /Kept his body clean / He was nowhere / Daddy was ashamed / Daddy was ashamed / Daddy was ashamed / He was something / Scars the family name / Scars the family name / Scars the family name / He was something . . . ” This particular song could be somewhat autobiographical, as in interviews Kurt has said of his father, that “He wanted me to be in sports and I didn’t like sports and I was artistic and he just didn’t appreciate that type of thing, so I just always felt ashamed. I just couldn’t understand how I was a product of my parents because they weren’t artistic and I was. I liked music and they didn’t. Subconsciously, maybe I thought I was adopted . . . ” (Azerrad, p. 18). Kurt was on the receiving end of both emotional and physical abuse from his father at times, an Aberdeen car mechanic who had some anger management issues; furthermore, Kurt’s mother became involved with incredibly abusive men following her divorce with Kurt’s father, scenes of abuse that Kurt witnessed.
In this footage below of “Even in His Youth” being performed in 1989, Nirvana was on a European tour with the band Tad and discovering for the first time that they had a huge following in Europe. At this time, Nirvana was still playing with Chad Channing from Bainbridge Island, one of their early series of drummers who stuck around a little longer than others. You can see that the later addition of Dave Grohl on drums accelerated their dynamic energy on stage, but that the Kurt and Chris combination was still very compelling nonetheless:
Below is the iconic footage from “19991: The Year Punk Broke,” aka Pisces out of control on a Rock God Trip. Again, note the very simple lyrics that somehow through his delivery transmitted huge emotional content across our planet. The lyrics are also so simple they can be interpreted in a universal context if you have been in High School in a situation with social cliques, and then experienced that again: “Won’t you believe it just my luck / Won’t you believe its just my luck / Won’t you believe its just my luck / Won’t you believe its just my luck / No recess / No recess / No recess . . . You’re in high school again / You’re in high school again / You’re in high school again / You’re in high school again.” Kurt was artistic in high school and very withdrawn socially, a pattern he continued when moving to Olympia, Washington. Although he was fairly withdrawn socially from the more communal punk and hipster social circles of Olympia, I feel these lyrics relate more to the cliques and socio-politics of the Seattle music scene that Nirvana joined through Sub Pop records, a music scene that was at its early stages of being marketed by Sub Pop on its way to becoming the celebrated “grunge” movement in popular music.
At the time of this footage below in August of 1991 or so, Nirvana was now beyond the level of Sub Pop and were signed to a major corporate record label, on tour in Europe with Sonic Youth, following their completion of recording the material for the Nevermind album and awaiting the release of the album a month later. As I will discuss further below, in Kurt Cobain’s chart this was a significant time period because in his progressed chart, his progressed Mercury stationed direct at five degrees of Pisces (it had been retrograde since he was a toddler) around August 10, 1991. Fittingly for a stationing direct progressed Mercury, this time was a huge shift for Kurt as he was able to play huge festivals for the first time alongside musical peers he looked up to such as Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, following the recording of a major label studio release. In this footage below, as he had a charged Pisces Mercury by progression, he did not yet realize the extraordinary media attention that would soon become focused upon him:
The footage below is the moment they were becoming famous on an extraordinary level: I always think of this clip as sort of their “Beatles” moment, around the same time they performed on “Saturday Night Live.” They were becoming very famous at this point, and this was filmed live in an MTV studio in front of a studio audience, as the crescendo of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was building and building. Kurt is direct and honest in his lyrics about his co-dependent relationship pattern, and of course that was exactly part of his appeal: “One baby to another says I’m lucky to met you / I don’t care what you’re thinking as long as it is about me / It is now my duty to completely drain you”
Someone without prior astrological knowledge may think the image of Kurt’s chart looks like a kite (that’s the “official” label for the major visible aspect pattern), but I also think the image of a bow and arrow about to fly would come to mind. With the bow and arrow image, it is fascinating to me that it is Pluto and Uranus holding the trigger, with the arrow prepared to shoot through the master marksman Chiron, in Pisces. For any Kurt Cobain fans reading this who do not have previous astrological knowledge, I hope this post makes you more interested in astrology because Kurt’s chart is such a spellbinding and perfect representation of the mark he made upon the world as well as his self-undoing.
I feel we must start with the extraordinary fact that Kurt was born at the time of the Pluto and Uranus conjunction in Virgo, with his Ascendant splitting them directly up the middle, with Pluto at the very end of his 12th House, and Uranus at the very beginning of his 1st House. If you are wondering why this would be significant, an extraordinary read on the subject is Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas in which he analyzes various historical periods that occurred during a conjunction between Pluto and Uranus, for example the 1960s (1960 – 1972) and the 1850s (1845 – 1856). Among other themes, Tarnas found that historical events that occurred in the sequence of conjunctions and oppositions in the Pluto-Uranus cycle related to “epochal shifts in the rise and fall of imperial powers and dynasties and turning points in world history that mark tectonic shifts in the global balance of power . . . the sudden rise and empowerment of countercultures and youth cultures; eras marked by the emergence and flourishing of historically significant bohemian and countercultural districts, communities, and demimondes (the Left Bank, Bloomsbury, Soho, Greenwich Village, Haight-Ashbury, Berkely, Harvard Square) . . . periods that brought the rapid emergence and proliferation of ecological, environmental, and nature-oriented movements of various kinds; and eras marked by cultural trends and movements advocating sexual revolution and erotic emancipation in society and the arts” (Tarnas, p. 164-5). Tarnas distilled the Pluto and Uranus cycle down to an archetypal synergy between Dionysus and Prometheus:
The planet Uranus appears to be correlated with events and biographical phenomena suggestive of an archetypal principle whose essential character is Promethean: emancipatory, rebellious, progressive and innovative, awakening, disruptive and destabilizing, unpredictable, serving to catalyze new beginnings and sudden unexpected change. The planet Pluto, by contast, is associated with an archetypal principle whose character is Dionysian: elemental, instinctual, powerfully compelling, extreme in its intensity, arising from the depths, both libidinal and destructive, overwhelming and transformative, ever-evolving. –Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche, p. 142
With both Pluto and Uranus in Virgo on his ascendant, the deep Soul that many have a hard time coming into contact with would have been impacting Kurt very much on a moment to moment basis, no matter how conscious he would have been of it. Moreover, the ruler of his Ascendant and chart, as well as the ruler of his Pluto and Uranus, is a Pisces Mercury in direct opposition to his Pluto and Uranus, albeit a Gibbous more so than a Full phase. His Pisces Mercury also being at the end of his 6th House conjunct his Descendant is another perfect symbol of how he was able to communicate his Soul nature through his art and music, and that in this lifetime he was coming into more of a courageous place to communicate some of the ultimate meaning he had accumulated across lifetimes, a purpose that gave his music the incredible power that was felt by so many listeners.
Kurt’s Pisces Mercury is very significant, as it rules his chart as the Ascendant ruler, rules his Virgo Pluto and Uranus, and rules his Gemini Ceres, with the Gemini Ceres forming a t-square to the opposition between his Virgo Pluto-Uranus and Pisces Mercury-Chiron-Venus-Saturn. Any Mercury in opposition to Pluto and Uranus would be intense, but Kurt’s Mercury being in Pisces at the very end of his 6th House on his 7th House cusp makes the relationship between his perception and his communication even more complex and difficult to handle. Pisces Mercury perceives phenomenal reality on a level beyond the confines of language, and so normally can make a more powerful impression through artistic, symbolic, musical, and poetic expression- this is because it seems next to impossible for an individual with a Pisces Mercury to communicate what it is sensing through straightforward language description, and it can seem even more difficult to find an audience who can listen to their language choices and fully grasp their meaning. Kurt Cobain often said he wrote lyrics at the last moment because he was lazy, but in the end the actual words he used were less important than the emotion he expressed through his music and the sound of his voice.
In Kurt’s progressed chart, his Mercury becomes even more important as it stationed retrograde in his toddler years and did not station direct until August 10, 1991 at the midpoint of his natal Pisces Sun and Persephone asteroid (which happens to also be his Vertex), following the recording of Nevermind when Nirvana was playing European festivals with Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, and other well-established bands, a real career peak for Kurt. This career peak was only the beginning, however, as his progressed Mercury moving direct coincided with the release of Nevermind and his extraordinary rise to rock stardom. The fact Mercury moved retrograde for so long in his lifetime leading up to his achievement of fame coincided in part with his artistic, withdrawn, and rebellious nature, a high school student who was talented enough to win artistic scholarships to college, but had such a hatred for his high school culture and the perspectives of many of his culturally conforming teachers, that he decided to drop out of high school before graduating. This progressed retrograde movement of Mercury supported the counter-cultural development of his mind, and also could have given him greater capacity for a re-membering of pertinent Soul feelings that could have had the double-edge of making his art more powerful but his emotional life also more difficult to handle.
Kurt’s Pisces Mercury is also an entrance point into his Grand Water trine, with a Pisces Mercury-Venus-Saturn on his 7th House cusp, a Jupiter Cancer in his 11th House, and a Scorpio Neptune in his 3rd House that is also conjunct Vesta. As I wrote in my last post on the Neptune and Jupiter cycle, the 1960s had a Scorpio influence across the decade due to Neptune and Jupiter starting a new cycle at 4 degrees of Scorpio in 1958, and Kurt had a connection to this point in Scorpio as it is the midpoint between the conjunction of his Scorpio Mars and Scorpio South Node of the Moon. The sex, drugs, and rock and roll that came into prominence during the 1960s, the sexual revolution, as well as the spiritual seeker movement to merge with Source all have a connection with this Scorpio Neptune theme, and in Kurt’s chart Scorpio rules and Neptune is found in his third house of communication. His Scorpio Neptune also being tightly conjunct Vesta in Scorpio, Kurt was able to focus on channeling this transformative Neptunian energy into his creative expression. A Scorpio Neptune here is also a perfect symbol for how he often destroyed the art he created, as well as destroyed his guitars and other band equipment when performing on stage. Even though at one point Kurt in an interview said he felt the name of Nirvana was “too esoteric,” he in fact seemed to have mastered the esoteric concept and significance of the destruction of form in the process of reaching a more heart-centered and Soul-infused consciousness.
Kurt’s Cancer Jupiter is in a disseminating trine to his Scorpio Neptune, and so Kurt had the evolutionary task of modifying his visionary qualities into a form that would be accepted and widely disseminated in society. He found this form in music, and his Jupiter being in Cancer and the 11th House is perfect for how he became obsessed with the culture of punk rock. Cancer in Jupiter, like we are experiencing today, correlates to the intuitive perceptive quality of Jupiter, and the corresponding generation of beliefs, being filtered through the Cancer themes of roots, memories, and origins. Kurt first became obsessed with punk rock before he even knew what it sounded like- he came across photographs of the Sex Pistols and other punk rock stars, and through his intuition became convinced that this was the exact music he needed to play, without having heard what it actually sounded like. He went to his room and played three chord progressions with a lot of screaming (Azerrad, p. 23):
“It was definitely a good release,” says Kurt. “I thought of it as my job. It was my mission. I knew I had to practice. As soon as I got my guitar, I just became so obsessed with it.” “I had this feeling all the time- I always knew I was doing something that was special,” says Kurt. “I knew it was better, even though I couldn’t prove it at the time. I knew I had something to offer and I knew eventually I would have the opportunity to show people that I could write good songs- that I could contribute something musically to rock and roll.” Kurt Cobain in Come As You Are, p. 23
Even though Kurt lived in the outskirts of Aberdeen, Washington, fortuitously there was a well-known punk band there called the Melvins, giving Kurt an opportunity to join a punk rock culture. The culture of punk rock also correlates with the 11th House placement of Kurt’s Jupiter, as well as the fact he was able to manifest this rock and roll “wish” of his into his personal destiny. Kurt’s Cancer Jupiter is also conjunct Juno at the beginning of Leo in his 11th House, another perfect symbol in how Kurt was attracted to romantic partners he met through the punk scene: his first girlfriend Tracy he met through the Melvins, his Olympia infatuation with Tobi Vail of Bikinni Kill, and his ultimate union with Courtney Love who actually had a cameo in the film Sid and Nancy. The final side to Kurt’s Grand Water Trine may be the most key point of all, with a Pisces Saturn conjunct Venus, Chiron, and Mercury in Pisces, as well as a Black Moon Lilith in Aries. Depending upon your astrological school of thought, you may consider Kurt’s Saturn to be ruled by either his Cancer Jupiter or his Scorpio Neptune, and both actually make a lot of sense in his case. Just isolating this stellium to his Saturn and Venus being conjunct is enlightening from the perspective of Liz Greene:
We have all encountered those children who because of their fear of being unwanted can only express their need for affection through destructive actions, or an attempt to inflict pain, or sulking and weeping; if we transfer this rather extreme picture to the adult body and mind of the Venus-Saturn individual, and include the skill at portraying surface coolness which he has usually developed, we will hold the key to his peculiar and often misunderstood emotional nature. — Liz Greene, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, p. 112
This sense of being unwanted seemed to be a deep issue for Kurt, and is even stronger archetypally when you consider that his Venus-Saturn conjunction was in Pisces, in his 7th House, and was also conjunct Black Moon Lilith and Chiron. As we know Lilith is the ultimate symbol of the rejected feminine in myth, and Chiron in myth was also unwanted by his parents, transforming this wound into a capacity to foster countless other youth into greater embodiment of their heroic qualities. Similarly, as Kurt Cobain found his way into fame, he attempted to highlight and bring into prominence as many other musicians he admired who had been ignored by mainstream media into the limelight. With the asteroid Lilith also conjunct Kurt’s South Node of the Moon in Scorpio in his 2nd House, Lilith also seems to be a significant archetype in relation to his Anima, or inner feminine soul nature. In Kurt’s case, it wasn’t entirely the case that he was unwanted, as he had to suffer through an intense custody battle between his parents after their divorce, but after his father gained custody he re-married and Kurt felt neglected in comparison to his new step-siblings. In contrast, his mother experienced a series of abusive relationships and apparently did not seem up to the challenge of raising Kurt, who acted out in numerous destructive ways. Throughout his adolescence, however, Kurt pleaded with his mother to take him back in, and she did at various points. However, at other times Kurt was left with no home to live in, and had to fend for himself. The connection between these difficult life circumstances and his Grand Water Trine was masterfully described by astrologer Bill Tierney in his essential Dynamics of Aspect Analysis: New Perceptions in Astrology:
There tends to be shown [in the Grand Water Trine] an exaggerated need for dependency, general mothering, safety from threat or harm, and psychological insulation from the harsher facets of reality. And the more subtle these needs express themselves, the more potentially insidious. In my opinion, this is the only Grand Trine that readily can become problematic, since the emotional self-containment it represents makes this individual hard to get to know intimately. Negatively, he may feel he is disconnected with the outer world (since water is a unifying element which, when blocked, can feel out-of-tune with its surroundings). He then may lose touch with his conscious awareness of himself and may passively allow unconscious forces to take over. — Bill Tierney, p. 76-77
With a South Node of the Moon in Scorpio conjunct a Scorpio Mars in his second house, Kurt knew how to rely on his inner resources for survival, and so he figured out creative solutions for his homelessness like sleeping under a bridge and fishing (until discovering the water was polluted), hanging out in public libraries as much as possible, and pretending to be family of hospital patients so he could hang out in hospital waiting rooms for extended periods of time. Yet even though he knew internally how to physically survive on a material level, his emotional nature was clearly wounded, leading into more difficult relational patterns with his female romantic partners as an adult. For example, his mother tried to show him “tough love” by not letting him continue to live with her after dropping out of high school without a job, and later in his marriage Courtney Love also tried to show him “tough love” by confining him to a residential drug rehabilitation center. However, no matter what trouble he may have felt women in relationships caused him, in the end this Pisces Saturn stellium was more about him learning to take responsibility for his own emotional dynamic in relationship. Just having a Saturn in the 7th house with nothing else according to Liz Greene indicates a need for him to balance his masculine and feminine sides in order to come to relationship more out of free choice than emotional need and compulsion, but with Lilith, Venus, Chiron, and Mercury also conjunct his Pisces Saturn, this powerful unconscious need would be even greater for Kurt to navigate relationships successfully and release relational co-dependency patterns stemming from past emotional wounding:
When Saturn is in the seventh house, the opportunity for an inner integration or balancing of opposites is offered, for it is unlikely that the individual will find the qualities he seeks happily expressed by a partner. It is more likely that he will attract to himself situations which involve some degree of pain, isolation, rejection, and disappointment until he begins to reorient himself toward an inner search. This placement is analagous to the coniunctio or mystical marriage of alchemy, which in psychological terms suggests an inner integration which results in a new centre for the psyche and new balance and meaning in life. In alchemical symbolism this marriage is always accompanied by darkness and death previous to the distillation of the elixir, and the darkness which often accompanies a seventh house Saturn is matched only by the brilliance of the gold which is also promised. –Liz Greene, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, p. 62
Kurt was able to alchemize gold from his Pisces Saturn signature in the form of the music that brought him widespread acclaim, but sadly Kurt went so deep into the darkness that he never came back out. Kurt ended up passing away before he got to his exact Saturn return, with transiting Saturn in Pisces conjunct his Sun but more closely conjunct his Pisces Persephone asteroid. So although Saturn was in Pisces when he died, it had not come into range of being conjunct his natal Saturn, and so he never made it to his first Saturn return, a time which would have correlated with an opportunity to make internal progress on these issues. However, Kurt had such an intense Saturn signature in his birth chart it indicates it would have taken him years past his first Saturn return to begin to fully resolve all of his issues. In fact, as he would have been getting closer to experiencing his Chiron return if he were alive today, it more than likely would have taken him at least as long as living to this point in time to come to a clearer resolution of his unconscious make-up.
So what exactly is some of the unconscious Soul material Kurt was working with? I have seen astrologer and past life regression therapist Patricia Walsh give a talk in which she said many Pluto in Virgo people come from the burning times, and Pluto in Virgo is often associated with relevant past lives in our “A.D” time period using the geodetic system. Whether Kurt was burned at the stake or not, there are very clear signs that his Soul has been deeply wounded by the hierarchical power structure of the dogmatic Christian Church that has dominated the past couple of thousand years, often associated with the “Patriarchy.” The burning of witches is one example of this, the Inquisition is another. Part of Kurt’s evolutionary purpose with his Grand Water Trine was to integrate his anima or bring his feminine side into balance with his masculine side. His Cancer Moon in his 10th House is one symbol of a sensitive feminine side hardened by cultural conditioning to make sure he gets his needs met, and another powerful female archetype of persecution in his chart is Lilith. Kurt has the Lilith asteroid #1181 conjunct his South Node of the Moon in Scorpio in his 2nd House, and he has Black Moon Lilith in Aries conjunct his Pisces Saturn, Venus, and Chiron in his 7th House. Since the asteroid Lilith that is conjunct his South Node or past life ego identity is associated with the original wounding and rejection Lilith experienced in myth according to Demetra George, this means that Kurt is acting from Soul desires that are connected with the persecution and rejection of strong, independent women. Since this South Node is in Scorpio, this persecution could have been associated with cultural taboos such as those involving sexuality, and with a Scorpio Mars also conjunct Lilith and his South Node there could have even been extreme rage and violence associated with this persecution.
In addition, during his high school years his progressed Mars would have stationed retrograde, staying retrograde for the rest of his life- again a symbol of not only his rebellious nature but also an instigator to deep unconscious material. In any case, all of this strong Scorpio in his second house means that Kurt would have deep Soul desires linked into being familiar with relying on his own resources for survival through merging with a relationship or another external source of power. As a result, the evolutionary purpose for him would have been to gain a stronger sense of internal security and integrated Self that would allow him to truly merge with others from his own place of power. Since the placement of Black Moon Lilith according to Demetra George is a point of integration in the chart where we can work on coming to resolution of our Lilith issues of rejected femininity, it means that Kurt would have had the purpose of resolving these issues in his 7th House, in his relationships, in connection with his Saturn, Venus, and Chiron in Pisces. As there haven’t been many female celebrities who have been culturally rejected as much as Courtney Love has, as much of a Lilith in the level of rejection, upon reflection of these Soul history signatures of Kurt it may make more sense for you why he chose to marry Courtney Love, if that was a scenario you previously did not understand. Kurt has symbols in his chart indicating a need to integrate a strong Lilith aspect of his Anima into his Self, and so merging with Courtney Love in a relationship would have given him ample material to work with along these lines.
Since Kurt’s South Node of the Moon in Scorpio is conjunct Mars, the traditional ruler of Scorpio, and the modern ruler of his South Node is his 12th house Pluto in Virgo that is conjunct Uranus and his ascendant, he has an extremely intense birth signature of having experienced extreme crises and cataclysms of epic proportions in his Soul’s history. His navigation of this unconscious emotional makeup in his Soul’s incarnation as Kurt Cobain is shown through his Cancer Moon being in his 10th House, a house placement that emphasizes the impact of societal conditioning on his feeling nature. The impact of cultural conditioning on his soul is most likely ancient, however, as can be seen from the fact that he has a conjunction of the Isis and Osiris asteroids in Capricorn in his 4th House, in opposition to his Cancer Moon. I wrote about the significance of the Isis and Osiris cycle in an earlier post about Osiris, but in relation to Kurt it is a further symbol of his need to do intense alchemical inner work on his unconscious make-up and work on coming into a more whole and integrated presence of his Self. This is not easy work for anyone, but would be especially intense for someone with the birth chart signatures that Kurt embodied.
In the end, Kurt simply has “crisis” written all over his birth chart, and so in many ways the intensity of the pain he experienced was part of his Soul’s evolutionary journey- we just never got a chance to see how strong he could have turned out in the end by persevering to a longer life. For example, he had a Gemini Ceres in a t-square to an opposition between Virgo Pluto-Uranus and Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron-Mercury, Lilith conjunct his South Node of the Moon, Persephone conjunct his Sun, Osiris-Isis in opposition to his Moon, and a 12th House Pluto conjunct his Ascendant that is also conjunct a 1st House Uranus. Chiron as an archetype especially stands out to me, as at the time of his death transiting Chiron in Virgo was in his 12th House and in opposition to his natal Pisces Sun, his progressed Sun was in Pisces conjunct his progressed Chiron, both of which were then conjunct his natal Saturn, Venus, and Black Moon Lilith. Furthermore, at the time of his passing Pluto and the North Node of the Moon were conjunct in Scorpio and transiting conjunct his natal Neptune, and transiting Venus was conjunct his North Node of the Moon. Meanwhile, transiting Mercury and Mars were conjunct in Pisces and further activating his water trine through being conjunct his Pisces Saturn-Venus-Chiron-Mercury, Saturn was in Pisces conjunct his Pisces Persephone and Sun, and the Moon on the day of his death was moving through Pisces and would have also passed over the significant Pisces celestial bodies in his chart.
In short, although none of these transits explains really any reason why Kurt was meant to die when he did, they are simply further examples of the extreme intensity present in his birth chart. We will never know what would have happened if he had lived longer and had the opportunity to attempt to heal himself from his past wounding, but we do have a recorded legacy of his being, his Soul pouring out, his pure Soul expression that saturated his music and voice. Finally, below is is a fairly long (23 minute) interview with Kurt in August of 1993 where one can get the opportunity through the Pisces illusion of computers to sit with him for a bit:
Azerrad, Michael. (1993). Come as you are: the story of Nirvana. Main Street Books.
Greene, Liz. (1976). Saturn: a new look at an old devil. Samuel Weiser, Inc.
Tarnas, Richard. ( 2007). Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a new world view. Plume.
Tierney, Bill. (1983). Dynamics of aspect analysis. CRCS.